Less than a week ago, a Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) driver was arrested in the city for attempting to molest a 23-year-old passenger and later pushing her out of the bus when she resisted. The incident was a chilling reminder of the New Delhi gang-rape in 2012 which was also on a bus. These incidents put the spotlight on the security systems (or the lack of it) in place in our transport systems.
Private players in different verticals are venturing into the area offering smart solutions for tracking vehicles both from the inside as well as outside. These solutions are gaining popularity mainly in school transportation. The Central Board Of Education (CBSE) too has made it compulsory for school buses to have the Global Positioning System (GPS) installed in them.
These solutions usually involve cameras fitted inside the buses to monitor what goes on inside the bus/van as well as GPS that enable tracking the bus movement - its arrival and departure, deviations in the route, if any, exceeding of speed limits, etc. Some solutions, like the recently launched Mahindra ‘SafeEye’, also has the facility of live streaming the happenings inside the bus to android-enabled phones. SMS alerts are sent to parents announcing the time the bus arrives home and reaches the school.
It is not just school buses where tracking devices are becoming popular. "The same solution is being put to different uses. Tata Docomo's ‘SmartBus Tracker Solution’ is being used by one State Government in north India to track the movement of trucks transporting food grains to godowns. One city corporation (not BBMP) is using it to monitor trucks transporting waste to see if waste is being collected from all designated points. Banks are using it to monitor cash vans and other companies are using it to track critical consignments," Sunil Tandon, Head of Non Voice Services, Tata Docomo, said.
Mr. Tandon says it is only a matter of time before these tracking solutions become more common. "Everyone likes predictability. If one can know the arrival and departure time of aircrafts and trains, then they will also want to know the details about road transport," he added.